Damn, all that public uproar over the Land Transport Authority’s enhanced security screenings at MRT stations must have really struck a nerve. In response to all the criticism over forcing commuters to go through extensive airport-style checks (bags through X-ray scanners, people through metal detectors), LTA attempted to calm people down today.
By calling the fears of long queues and further delays to commuting times “fake news”.
Today, LTA launched their six-month trial for enhanced security checks at MRT stations that’ll involve screening equipment deployed at fare gates of up to six stations across all rail lines at any one time. Clearly, the worries of getting delayed while taking the train were justified as LTA made no mention of extra details in its statement last week, like which stations will be affected and if every single commuter had to undergo the checks.
Furthermore, the emergency exercises held at Newton and Holland Village MRT station earlier this year didn’t exactly paint an efficiently quick screening system. LTA’s deputy director of Public Transport Security Joseph Goh estimated that checks would take between eight to 10 minutes for every passenger, according to a TODAY report.
LTA responded to all the backlash it received by assuring that their enhanced security measure is actually not that troublesome.
“Security screenings will only be conducted at random MRT stations, and not all commuters will be screened,” LTA clarified in a Facebook post. “Selection is random, and the screenings are similar to how bag checks are usually done at MRT stations,” it added, stating that it’s unlike the security checks at airports. LTA also promised that there won’t be any long queues at all, as it won’t be much different than the random bag checks MRT station staff have been conducting already.
Have a look at LTA’s hashtag-ridden Facebook video below.
With the first day of the trial almost over, LTA doubled down on the message that the enhanced security measures are absolutely necessary to ensure that the transport system remains safe for everyone.
And to be fair to LTA, the flow of human traffic at participating MRT stations in the peak hours this morning wasn’t as bad as initially believed. Channel NewsAsia found that about four people were screened every 10 minutes on average at Little India, with checks done within 90 seconds. In Bedok, The Straits Times observed only one commuter being asked to go through the checks.
Commuters were reportedly disgruntled with the extra measures before being allowed to pass through fare gates, but no queues were seen.
I FUCKING HATE TERRORISM BECAUSE IT IS UNNECESSARY, STEALS LIVES AND I HAVE TO STOP FOR A BAG CHECK AT THE MRT!! STOP WASTING MY TIME LAH ISIS OR WHAT EVER WAR PROFITTERS BULLCRAP.
— Hazeerah (@hazeerahb) November 11, 2018
Aside from Bedok and Little India, screening equipment were set up at Ang Mo Kio, Yishun, and Bukit Panjang stations but didn’t get used today. That may change though in the incoming days.
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